Share this on

Amateur players will often cut their live poker tournament teeth on daily casino tournaments. These events offer a low-cost option for tournament play and are normally done in a few hours.

Most of you will be faced with the option of cutting a deal at the final table of these events. While your ego may tell you to play for the outright win, take a step back and evaluate the situation and whether a deal is a better option.

What’s Your Stack Relevant to the Structure?

More important than your stack size relevant to the other players is your stack size relevant to the current blinds and the blinds over the next couple of levels. Many daily tournaments have doubling blind structures or aggressive structures that take away almost all play during the final table levels.

Consider how many chips you need to have a 20 to 30 big blind stack two levels from now and compare that to the chips on the table. If you find that you need to have a significant percentage of the chips in play, lean more towards a deal.

Is It Worth Your Time to Keep Playing?

Casino daily tournaments aren’t usually going to have massive ROI like normal tourneys. As such, you need to consider your hourly rate when playing them.

Let’s say you’re in a tournament and have been playing three to four hours. You’re at the final table and players want to talk a deal. Looking at the structure and the work ahead, you probably can get a reasonable idea of how much time it will take to play it out to the win. Let’s look at two potential scenarios:

The first scenario is you play for the win. You can win $550 if you play for the win but it will take another two hours including breaks. Figuring six hours for the total tournament, you’ll make about $91.60 an hour.

Scenario B has everyone walking away right now with $350 each. That’s a guaranteed $116 per hour for your three hours’ worth of work.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll get that extra $200 and it will cost you two more hours to find out. If you take the money, you can spend those hours doing something else, or hop in a cash game and try and spin it up more.

How Much More Can You Win?

When looking at the numbers of a deal at the final table, you’ll naturally want to look at how much more you can win if you play it out. The question now is just how much more money we are talking about.

A couple of years back, I chopped a pair of tournaments at the Las Vegas Tuscany in a week’s time. The first time we did a chip count deal and the other we chopped the prize pool up evenly.

The first deal worked out quite generously for me as it almost doubled my expected payout. I was the short stack at the final table and needed a lot of help to get back into it.

For the other deal, I was a middle stack. The difference between what we were playing for and first was about $400. Some might have stayed and played on to try to win, but this crowd was a bit older and was happy to chop. Furthermore, it also saved us about 3 hours of playing time.

The question you have to ask yourself is whether the extra money available is worth the risk of losing the guaranteed money.

What’s Your Skill Relative to the Table?

In many articles like this, the consideration of skill would be one of the first topics discussed, but we aren’t talking about your standard tournament. For casino daily tourney, skill is relevant when you have room to play your game.

If you’re in a daily tournament that has a reasonable structure, then you certainly need to take your skill level into consideration. Maybe you have a significant edge and are doing yourself a disservice by taking a deal.

When that’s the case, it is understandable to continue playing for the win. But make sure you are taking the structure into consideration. Your skill means nothing when the event has become a shovefest.



Related Articles

James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.